May 16, 2011

Ginger Cookies

I have been on this dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, meat-free diet now for about six weeks. The question I keep getting is "are you starving?" Surprisingly no, it hasn't been as hard as I thought. Of course, I have a pretty big reason to do it. Trust me, when you wake up one morning to find blood in your infant's diaper, you'll resolve to do whatever it takes to make your little one feel better. And as an added bonus, I feel really great too!

Are there foods I really miss? In a word: toast. Yep, you read that right. I am a big fan of toast. There is nothing better in this world than a thick slice of whole grain bread (La Brea Bakery's is the best!), toasted ever so lightly, and slathered with salted butter. Oh sure, I can still eat wheat (for now), but take the butter (remember, no dairy) out of the scenario and all you have left is hard bread.

Besides my mid-day buttered toast daydreams, I really don't feel deprived at all. Especially now that I have discovered how to replace the dairy and egg in certain baked goods. This is a recipe I have had for years. I got it from my sister-in-law and it has always been one of Mr.'s favorites. Now, with a little tweaking, we can eat them again!

Ginger Cookies
*dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free - but don't let that throw you off! They are delicious!

2 1/4 c. flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. molasses
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
3 tablespoons water

In a small bowl combine flaxseed with water and set aside (it will sort-of 'gel' together and look gelatinous like a beaten egg). Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt) and set aside. Mix together the oil, molasses, sugar and flaxseed mixture. Add dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Form 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Makes 48 cookies (depending on how big you make them).

Note: If you aren't trying to avoid egg, or don't have any flaxseed you can substitute the flaxseed/water mixture with one egg.


May 11, 2011

Italian Inspiration: Venice

A year ago today we were in Venice, Italy, blissfully unaware of the major life changes that were headed our way in the next year! Last night we were reminiscing about our fantastic Europe trip that we took last year and wishing we were anywhere else but here. Since our daughter was born we haven't traveled anywhere and we are getting the bug big time. We are working on getting her passport so that we can share the world with her. She needs to see Venice, and soon!

Just in case you aren't headed to Venice today but wish you were, here is a little something to keep you occupied for a few minutes. *Tiny disclaimer: these photos may insight a full-out, kicking, screaming, fists-a-flailing, I-just-want-to-jump-on-a-plane-right-now, giant hissy fit. If this happens to you, I apologize in advance. Take a deep breath and eat some chocolate (dairy-free, soy-free if you're like me!)*


Renovating an entire house has it's ups and downs, periods of frenzied activity where you feel like the projects are practically ticking themselves off the to-do list and periods of sheer laziness where it would take an asteroid colliding with your precious new roof to actually get your rear in gear and repair that gaping hole (or paint that room, or put in that new french door that has been sitting in the garage for a year, or finish that crown molding and base board that you purchased last fall, and on and on.) I think you know what period we are experiencing around here (ahem). And the reason?

Everything about this tiny little person makes us weak in the knees, from her hilarious laugh which sounds more like a cough, to her crazy little kicks and wiggles when she sleeps. We just can't get enough of her and find ourselves mesmerized by her every sound, which is why she eats into our 'project' time! Not to mention that by the time we FINALLY get her to take a nap (really? you only need a ten minute nap at 10 weeks?) the last thing we want to do is pull out the air compressor and shoot nails into the wall. So, very little has been done around here....until now. We just got the motivation we needed. We found out a few weeks ago that our I-don't-really-think-it-is-necessary-to-sleep-EVER daughter has some pretty severe food allergies. Because I am choosing to continue breastfeeding (I'm stubborn like that) we are now faced with some big changes to our lifestyle. Cutting out dairy, eggs, soy, and meat from your diet means that the eating-out options are slim to none. No more last minute runs to Cafe Rio or Yanni's, no stopping by Cafe Trang for a take-out noodle bowl. Now we spend our time at the grocery store reading every...single...label. Don't get me wrong. I have always loved to cook, but cooking with an infant is no easy task. So we often opted for take-out. Well those days are over. I am now cooking everything from scratch (prepackaged foods often contain dairy, soy or a combination) and am spending more time in the kitchen again. 

So, we have turned our attention back to the kitchen (again!) Here is the progress so far: 

The view from the dining room before the walls came tumbling down.

Same view without the walls

Sheet rock is finished and bead board goes up on the ceiling (my absolute favorite feature of the new kitchen, but more on that later)

This is what the kitchen looks like today. We still have a long way to go before we can proclaim it "done" but we are already loving the way it is turning out! Mr. is going to be working on trim this week and then we will paint the cabinets and walls! It's overcast and yucky today, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to post more pics. These are definitely "in progress" shots, no beautiful "after" photos just yet!

Until then, have a happy wednesday (or whatever day it is where you're from!)


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